The 90-year-old Swiss Protestant was stabbed to death by a 36-year-oldRomanian woman during a service Tuesday (Aug. 16) at the community hefounded in eastern France in 1940, authorities said. The chants of thecommunity, known for its efforts to foster relations among Christians, havebecome widely used by churches of a range of denominations.
"Remembering the commitment of Brother Roger and the Taize community tothe ecumenical task, we share this moment of grief with the Holy Father,Pope Benedict XVI, and the church throughout the world," wrote BishopWilliam S. Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,in a letter to Brother Roger's successor, Brother Alois.
Metropolitan Herman, the ruling archbishop of the Orthodox Church inAmerica, sent a letter to the monastic community, saying that their leader'slife was "senselessly taken."
"Throughout the many years of his monastic life and service, BrotherRoger was a well-known example of dedication to the work of Christianunity," the Orthodox leader wrote.
The secretary general of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Rev.Kenneth Kearon, also expressed sorrow at Brother Roger's sudden death.
"The news of the death of Brother Roger has saddened Anglicans aroundthe world, and we are especially shocked by the violent manner of his death,which was in stark contrast to his lifelong ministry of peace andreconciliation," Kearon said in a statement. "The Taize community which hefounded, whose witness to ecumenism and reconciliation especially amongyoung people will be his lasting memorial, has influenced Christian worshipand spirituality worldwide."
Funeral services for Brother Roger are planned for Tuesday (Aug. 23),but other remembrances will occur in other countries. In New York, theEpiscopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York was to host a "TaizeRequiem" Friday (Aug. 19). Mourners were invited to "come sit in silence,chant, pray around the cross and give thanks for Frere Roger's life andwork."